Expressing Gratitude

By Renee Bucci MSc. OT, OT Reg.(Ont.)

Expressing our gratitude and doing things for others can be beneficial for our thoughts and our moods. Knowing what we are grateful for and putting our actions toward what we are grateful for are two separate things with different outcomes. When was the last time that you’ve done something for someone in an intentional and mindful manner? You can incorporate seemingly simple and easy ways to show someone how much they mean to you. For the most part, it does not have to cost you any money or extra energy throughout your day. How? Here are some suggestions:

BE With Them
Give someone your time and full attention. It is a priceless gift that many would treasure, especially in this busy world with constant bombardment. Make the time. Have a simple conversation where you have your distractions aside (*phones away*), or spending time doing something you both enjoy. Learn to love the ordinary moments.

Offer a helpful hand, especially if you notice that someone may have a lot on their plate. We tend to have a hard time asking for help, even when we need it the most. Taking something off their to-do list or insisting your help shows your attention. Showing that you’re mindful of them may actually be more meaningful than a gift.

SAY Something
Just because you know that you appreciate someone, does not mean that they know it. Expressing gratitude for someone can be as simple as letting them know you’re happy to have them in your life, following up on a conversation you recently had, or just thanking them for doing something. A simple and genuine statement can go a long way.

Want to take this an extra step further? Acts of kindness towards loved ones and even strangers can act as instant mood-boosters. More suggestions are:

  • Hold the door for someone
  • Be the first one to smile (you just might be the first person to smile at them today!)
  • Generously compliment someone
  • Pay for someone’s coffee or parking meter
  • Donate what you are able (ie. whether it be money, clothing, or household items that you no longer use) to a local charity
  • Say “thank you” instead of “sorry”

What are some other acts of kindness that you can think of? Can you think of someone that you could do this for? Try them out and see how expressing gratitude to others can impact how you feel!

“Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things.” – Ann Brashares